Partly Read Books.

closed book

Yesterday’s Business Standard had a very interesting article by a favourite writer of mine. T C A Srinivasa Raghavan writes incisively on many topics and this was one that got me thinking about my own collection of partly read books.

After reading the article in full and before I read all the morning’s papers, I went to take stock of the number of books that I have in hand that have only been partly read and I was shocked! There are six of them and more importantly there are twelve totally unread ones waiting for me to find some time.

I still manage to get in about two to three hours of reading everyday but facebook, blogging, visiting blogs, email and solving crossword puzzles take up quite a bit of my time besides my new hobby of seeing movies in theaters and also on DVDs at home.

Like TCA SR suggests, I should really get rid of many of the books that I have already read, and perhaps some that I have read partly but have no intentions of reading ever. But I am simply unable to get myself to get rid of them, despite knowing that I must if I have to find space for new purchases that will most certainly take place sooner than later.

I kept telling myself that the kindle will solve the problems of space for books but the reading experience of a hard copy book is divine whereas reading in the kindle is sort of soulless!

I have therefore decided, and I hope to implement the decision fully, not to buy any more books, hard copy or kindle, till I get rid of some and also finish reading the backlog.

Do you have such a problem too?

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27 Responses to Partly Read Books.

  1. No. I just give them to Friends of the Library, which sells them for a nominal price and gives the money to the library . I usually try to get at least one or two ideas from them before I pass them on, but it’s not necessary. Someone will enjoy reading them, so it’s not a waste.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..We Can Relate to That

  2. Meghadri says:

    Libraries? Not sure if they exist any more in any healthy form in this geography!

  3. Grannymar says:

    I am forever reading about people who love to boast about how many books they have. I am sure that like you, many of the books go unread. What is the point in having them and would the world end if you bought no more? I very much doubt it.
    Grannymar recently posted..Bits and pieces

    • Ursula says:

      Just a thought, Grannymar. I have noticed over the years that you have a particular disdain for people who “boast” about the size of their library, the number of books they have read. Don’t you think you are a little unfair? Are they boasting? Or are they just, innocently, stating a fact? Would you expect someone to hold it against you if you collected butterflies, beermats or knitted at the rate of knots? No, you wouldn’t.

      Ursula recently posted..In the chair

    • I wouldn’t say that they boast Grannymar. I certainly don’t. I am expressing my more or less helpless condition which seems to afflict all book lovers who buy books compulsively. Somewhat like those who buy shoes which are never worn more than a time or two!

  4. tammyj says:

    i don’t buy novels usually. i have a few. but the books i have are dear friends and i enjoy re~visiting them over and over through the years.
    they inspire or inform or make me laugh. those i would never part with.
    but… some do creep in. and those… like monk… i often give to friends of the library. i will not do kindle until forced to. though the marine has one and enjoys it very much. i love everything about a true physical book. one i can hold and turn the pages. and smell. they have a wonderful smell. especially older ones.
    but then… they are made from my beloved trees. so… it’s a conundrum.
    oh i like that word! I’ve always wanted to use it.
    though maybe paradox would have been better! LOL.
    ps… the marine and i saw ‘the judge’ yesterday. i thought it powerful and wonderfully acted. though a review i read gave it only 2.5 stars.
    i think the age of the reviewer might have been the reason.
    he no doubt kept waiting for an explosion and some karate moves! 🙂
    tammyj recently posted..white messenger

  5. I give my books to the library to sell, too. I’m way behind on reading, but I actually like having some of my books on my kindle (or rather, on my iPad) – it’s nice to have several options available in one easy format.
    Secret Agent Woman recently posted..“In violent times, you shouldn’t have to sell your soul.”

  6. Cathy in NZ says:

    I rarely buy books now – but I utilise my library service to the max…we have more than 50 libraries in this region and we can order from the catalogue and pick up from any of them…great service. Some books more popular but you wait…and wait but you do eventually get to read them…also magazines and DVDS etc available.

    I do have a number of books partially unread but usually they are for study purposes and I read what is required…
    Cathy in NZ recently posted..Fabulous News!

  7. Anita says:

    I do have some books that are only partly read, but they are usually art and design reference books that I need to keep going back to. Two years ago, while trying to make space, I tearfully gave away about 450 books that had served me well but I knew I would never read again. It was difficult, like parting with very old friends. I still occasionally mourn their loss. While I give away almost anything else quite easily and hate to keep any sort of clutter around, books are an altogether different matter. I still have about 600 books left. Like Tammy, I like to revisit my collection and relive the experience. I have 60 year old books from my father’s teens, yellowed but carefully taped together to keep them from falling apart. Ah, sentimentality. I do have a Kindle, but like you, I find it soulless and am never excited to read a book on it. There are other formats that offer a better experience, but still, there’s nothing like the real thing. The excitement of buying a new book, savouring its smell and feel for a couple of days before actually opening it to read…feeling the grain of the paper as you turn each page…there’s nothing to match that. It is a simple delight, but a deep one.

  8. None. I read very fast – the typical fiction stuff I read is usually nothing more than a one or two night read so I tend to get them all finished.

  9. nick says:

    I only have a small pile of unread books and they’ll all be read in a few weeks. Jenny has masses of unread books but that’s because her work and other interests take most of her time. She’ll get round to reading them eventually.

    We have around 1000 books in the house and even though we cull them from time to time, giving the rejects to the local War on Want bookshop, we have more coming in than are going out so there’s a storage crisis building up.
    nick recently posted..Rush to judgment

  10. Ursula says:

    Agree with Anita.

    Of course if one buys books by the meter (no offence to the article’s author), say, 19 of this, 22 of the other, books will become just wallpaper. And remain unread.

    Many many (non-fiction) books do not lend themselves to reading from the first page to the end. It’s not a question of “finishing” them. You dip into them as and when. It’s a joy, almost as if finding a new facet to an old friend.

    However, having said that I do believe we should exercise some discipline to get rid of those books who are, by their content, out of date – long superseded by an updated version, those not relevant to our interests any longer.

    I do weigh carefully before I let go of a book but when it really really really doesn’t serve any purpose any longer then, yes, goodbye.

    So, my dear Ramana, “finishing/reading to the end” is overrated. Funnily, sometimes the ‘unfinished’ holds great charm. As one of my uncles used to say of his wife (her maiden name was Schubert): “My lovely wife, the Unfinished”. To understand the joke: One of Schubert’s best loved symphonies was indeed unfinished.

    Ursula recently posted..In the chair

  11. kylie says:

    i have a small handful of unfinished books, mostly reference books that i wouldnt want to read cover to cover.
    i have a collection of birth related books which i devoured when i got them but i will probably never pick them up again. i’m not sure what to do with them.
    kylie recently posted..frugal?

  12. Oh, I share your “pain”, Ramana.
    I love how you described an e-reader as soulless. I feel the same way.
    Marianna Paulson recently posted..Creativity Constricted?

  13. Mitali says:

    Do I have a problem? Do I???

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